A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, and touches a heart.
There was a young girl in a middle school, who loved singing. The music was very close to her heart and she kept her interest in music as a secret. She was shy to disclose to her parents or teachers. She used to enjoy singing in front of school friends. She had a classmate who was learning classical music. Since that classmate was not singing well, this young girl developed a prejudice about music classes. She felt that attending the music classes may take away her talent in singing.
One day, this girl was singing during break time, a teacher overheard it by chance. The teacher was impressed by that and checked whether she is learning the music with any Guru. The girl was hesitant to say that she is not going for any music classes. After discussing with her, the teacher could realize the fear and perceptions that the girl had. The teacher asked the girl to get her parents to the school.
The girl’s father went to school and he was pleasantly surprised to know his daughter’s interest and talent. The teacher and her parents could convince the girl that she could excel in singing if she studies music with a proper teacher. Finally, the girl gave in to their suggestion and the journey began.
After 20 years, here we have Mrs. Sushma Sanghi, proficient in both Carnatic and Hindustani vocal music, Hindustani music teacher and a performer who has given programs on many occasions and platforms.
She has about 50 students who are learning music from her. It is interesting to know that her students’ age range varies from 4 to 60 and learn Hindustani classical vocal, light music, and special Karaoke classes.
What happened in between? It was not that straight forward story, where the young girl understands her path and goes in that direction to become a singer and music teacher.
There were ups and downs, commas and semicolons before she arrived as a music teacher. She did her post-graduation in commerce, left learning the music for different reasons like formal education, jobs and so on. But the love for music was strong, so she used to get on to the music in spite of breaks. She got herself trained in both Carnatic and Hindustani music.
However, she continued to work as a corporate trainer in reputed companies. After marriage and motherhood, it was becoming difficult to work as a trainer that involved a long duration of standing and traveling. She chose music for the new innings in her career. Childhood passion surfaced up as a career option and she decided to try her hand as a music teacher in a regular school.
Most of the schools want their students to excel in academics and hence, only the subjects that matter to board exams are given priority. Designated time for the music classes used to get transferred to Maths and Science subjects as they are of more importance from the exam point of view. With such situations, teaching music to the kids in school hours was not a satisfying job option for Sushma.
So the situation came back to square one. She was not ready to go back to the corporate world and not to the schools where music class is more of a namesake. With strong support from her husband, she started her own music classes with 2-3 students. Now, it has grown as Sanidha School of music. Many kids are learning classical music, and enjoy coming to the class where they have the freedom to be what they are. Some kids who have started the classes with Sushma at the age of four years are completing an advanced Diploma in Hindustani Vocal.
It is quite a pleasant surprise to see that kids of this generation, who have exposure to fast music, fast food, fast life are still humming soothing classical songs. As kids say, they are getting the benefits of classical music in their studies too. Learning the logic behind the music notes would help their reasoning skills and memory and the meditative way of classical music makes their mind calmer, helps them to focus while studying.
The teacher’s effort in identifying the talent and taking time to talk to parents became a foundation for Sushma’s career in music. A small incident in school and the response from the teacher could have a long-lasting impact on the kids’ life.
At times, it looks like kids are becoming marks earning robots. There are instances, parents do not want their kids to do anything other than studies. Is it a good idea? learning performing arts, playing games, attending social gatherings could contribute to the overall development of the child. When kids have to come out of school and face the real world, whether the degrees and marks alone would help them to survive?
Here, in this case, Sushma’s passion became a profession. It need not have to be in this way alone. When the whole world is discussing stress management, resilience and other ways to handle the pressure of daily life, it would be good for us to develop interests in different hobbies, arts, or sports.
A little exposure to kids in the field of their interest would come handy when they need it. It may be the sports they like, music, story telling, public speaking, crafting, painting, reading or writing for joy, drawing and the list goes on. Each one is unique and different, hence the choice could be different.
What do you think? What other things could be important for a student, other than studying textbooks and scoring marks? Please write your views.